ACC live blog: NC State beats Va. Tech, 80-63 - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

ACC live blog: NC State beats Va. Tech, 80-63

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  • Tudor: Leslie's effort is good sign for NC State

    Tudor: Leslie's effort is good sign for NC State

    Thursday, March 14 2013 5:47 PM EDT2013-03-14 21:47:58 GMT
    Veteran sports writer Caulton Tudor is writing for WNCN.com during tournament play. Here is his analysis of N.C. State's win over Virginia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament. A perfect example
    Caulton Tudor says another strong effort by Leslie should lift N.C. State into the ACC semifinals.

WNCN's Dane Huffman is live blogging today's ACC Tournament from press row. Columnist Caulton Tudor will post his thoughts on the N.C. State game after it's over.

4:24 p.m., huge dunk: Rodney Purvis just wrapped up N.C. Sate's 80-63 win over Virginia Tech with an emphatic dunk in the final seconds. Nice win for N.C. State - on to facing Virginia.

4:18 p.m.: Great possession by N.C. State. Lorenzo Brown controlled the ball in the halfcourt offense and let the shot clock run down. When only a few seconds remained, he passed left, to Scott Wood, who was wide open. Wood (of course) made the three-pointer and it's 76-55 State with 2:07 left.

Right after that, State coach Mark Gottfried subbed in.

Oh, and on State's next possession, Brown drove and lofted a soft pass to Warren, who hit a running shot that was as pretty as they come. Strong point guard play by Brown.

4:04 p.m., great block: Best play of the tournament so far - C.J. Leslie blocked a dunk attempt by the Hokies' 6-10 Joey van Zegeren. It seemed like the whole Greensboro Coliseum gasped when he did that. Right now, State leads 67-51 with 6:05 to play.

3:56 p.m., is Purvis nervous?: Rodney Purvis just had a tough stretch. Purvis clearly couldn't guard Tech forward Jarell Eddie, and then Purvis had two open three-pointers rattle out.

State subbed Warren back in for him at around the 9 minute mark, and Purvis looked a bit dejected as he went back to the bench. State assistant coach Bobby Lutz immediately came over, took a knee in front of Purvis and started going over what Purvis had done wrong. State is going to need some bench help (see note below) to have a chance in this tournament, and that starts with Purvis.

3:50 p.m., State extends lead: N.C. State leads this one, 59-47. Overall, it's a strong effort from State and especially Richard Howell, who has 20 points. This has been a physical contest and you have to figure that's just the way Howell likes it.

On word of caution for State, though, is the Pack really isn't going to its bench much at all. Rodney Purvis has played some and Tyler Lewis just a little, but State has relied on its starters most of the contest.

In a perfect world for the State, the Pack would open up a lead and get its starter on the bench to rest. The winner of this one plays Virginia on Friday, and that's always a tough, grinding game. The winner of that probably gets Miami, and the winner of that probably Duke. That's a rough four days in Greensboro, even for athletes in as good a shape as ACC basketball players.

3:44 p.m., Warren playing well: The more you watch T.J. Warren, the more you like his game. Warren looks much bigger and stronger on the court than you expect. He just gave up a basket to Va. Tech when Jarell Eddie did a spin move and hit a jumper over him.

Warren came right back with a three-pointer - in other words, take that.

Then he got a tough rebound, passed out to Lorenzo Brown and Brown threw ahead to Richard Howell for a dunk.

Of course, Warren's father, Tony, played at N.C. State, so Warren knows all about big-time basketball, but he has the look and actions of a player who will only get better. Va. Tech just called a time-out with State up 57-42, and you can trace much of State's expanded lead to shots, rebounds and passes Warren had a hand in.

3:34 p.m., State extends lead: State's off to a 41-32 lead early in the second half. Scott Wood just complained about a Va. Tech player pushing off but received only a shrug from the official. 

Pack's up, 46-38. Scott Wood just had a beautiful catch-and-shoot for a three-point shot, and Richard Howell yanked down a rebound with one hand and cupped it to his chest like he just owned the ball (and playing the way he has, he does).

3:15 p.m., Howell ... whew!: N.C. State, thanks to a strong run at the end of the first half, leads at the break, 38-32.

Richard Howell had a brilliant first half for State. Howell had 14 of State's 38 points

3:04 p.m., dunk time: Right when you start thinking N.C. State is getting timid, State had its best stretch.

First, Lorenzo Brown, going up the court in transition, passed ahead to T.J. Warren for a beautiful dunk that had Pack fans on their seat.

On the next possession, Brown passed to C.J. Leslie for another dunk, and a quick Va. Tech time-out. That made it 34-27 as State finally had a bit of breathing room in this one.

Leslie is having a tough time getting looks. Before that two-dunk run, he had slapped the floor in frustration after being called for a turnover. He has had some open shots from the perimeter but has usually passed, often to Richard Howell.

Howell is just a beast. He has 14 of State's 34 points. C.J. Leslie had nine points and five rebounds - a reasonable effort for a player under the microscope in this tournament. Scott Wood had seven points, T.J. Warren six and Lorenzo Brown had two points and six assists.

Forward Jarell Eddie led the Hokies with 10 points, and guard Erick Green - the league's leading scorer - had nine.

2:45 p.m., close game: N.C. State has a 20-19 lead right now, with C.J. Leslie playing hard and State doing a decent job on defense against Hokies guard Erick Green.

One clear trend in this tournament is this is going to be a physical, loosely officiated tournament. C.J. Leslie just had the ball down low for State, and there was plenty of pushing and bumping going on, but no call.

It was the same way in the first game, when Boston College beat Georgia Tech. Right or wrong, this is a tough, physical brand of basketball the ACC is looking to play right now. In the past, the league has been criticized for being too finesse, but it certainly doesn't seem that way now.

Virginia Tech leads 21-20 in this game right now. State is the more talented team but the Hokies seem to be gaining confidence.

2:35 p.m., quick start: State went up 6-0 in this one, and the Pack really looks athletic and energized. C.J. Leslie just hit an open shot and has made some smart passes.

If you didn't know the Pack was the fifth seed, you'd look at the talent on this State team and think they were the tournament favorites. Watching them from the floor, they just look, well, really good.

But as soon as you start thinking that, they have a turnover and then Erick Green hits a wide-open three-pointer. And that's why it's 7-6 Hokies early.

By the way, Virginia Tech is making fun of NCSU's agricultural background. The Tech pep band just sang "There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-oh. ..." while Scott Wood was at the line.

Didn't bother Wood. He hit both shots and it's 9-8 Va. Tech now.

2:30 p.m., T-shirts: N.C. State game out in red shirts with "Rise to the occasion" in big white letters on the front. It's obvious there's plenty of stake in this one for the Pack.

State fans are already in high gear, with a rousing "Wolf-Pack!" cheer before the game.

2:10 p.m., Pack red rocks house:There is a lots of red in building Thursday afternoon, and you can bet its not for the Maryland Terrapins.

N.C. State plays Virginia Tech at 2:30 p.m. in the first round of the tournament, and despite the difference in seedings – NCSU No. 5 and Tech No. 12 – this could be a close game.

The Hokies gave N.C. State a scare back on Feb. 16 in Raleigh, losing 90-86 in overtime. That's the game where Virginia Tech had that crazy tip-in off a free throw at the end – you have to figure the Pack has worked on that a bit in practice.

The Coliseum is only half full, at best, for the start of this one.

Much of the attention on State this week has focused on junior forward C.J. Leslie. Leslie had a dreadful game at Florida State and seems to have a knack for playing poorly just when State needs him most.

But last time against the Hokies, he was quite effective. He played 40 minutes, had 16 points and contributed nine rebounds.

The guy State has to worry about is Tech guard Erick Green. Green, a 6-foot-4 guard leads the nation in scoring at 25.4 points per game. He had 29 points in that loss to State.

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